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UN International Day of Families 2012

Day of Families Observed in Stuttgart

Stuttgart, Germany - A forum on "The Significant Role of the Family for the Individual and Society" took place on May 12 in Stuttgart. Forty people attended the afternoon gathering.

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Hubert Arnoldi, Chairman of UPF-Stuttgart, greeted everyone and gave a short introduction. Then Jürgen and Nina Kirchberger sang the European Hymn “Ode to Joy” by Ludwig van Beethoven with the German text by Friedrich Schiller.

The first speaker was Ernst Strohmaier, a local political leader. His main topic was “The importance of the family for successful socialization and integration.” He started by sharing his experience with his own family, who were former German citizens living in the Soviet Union. Known as Russian Germans, the main reasons they could survive hardships were faith in God and the internal support from their families. He went on to give examples of different definitions of family, showing the tendency of socialism to liberate the women, thus systematically dissolving the family structure. However, the family stays together because of love as well as a sense of mutual responsibility between the members of a family. Unless religious values and moral values are transmitted in the family, the family and eventually also the society will fall apart. Then the government will have to regulate the family and sest rules – which eventually leads to dictatorship.

His presentation was followed by a classical piece played on the flute by Christoph Fröhner. 

The second speaker, Karl-Christian Hausmann, Chairman of UPF-Germany, gave a PowerPoint presentation about “The family in the current political discussion.” He explained that the recent support for two-income families does lead to a child-friendly society. He went on to say that all world religions point out that the family is the core cell of life in society and should be a “school of love.” The children are able to experience security and reliability in a family. Therefore, the family should have special protection from the government. The welfare of the children must have priority over economic interests.

Katrin Daudert, a local student, ended the first half of the program with a piano piece. After lively conversations over coffee and cake, Christoph Fröhner opened the second part of the event with a Japanese song on his flute.

Dmitri Marchenkov from Moscow, an Administrator for the Council of Europe, gave a talk in English, translated by Nina Kirchberger. He described the history and goals of the Council of Europe, founded in 1949 by ten European countries with the goal to strengthen democracy and support the rule of law and human rights in war-torn Europe. The European Union was developed later, concentrating on economic cooperation. The Council of Europe states that to start a family is a fundamental right and family policies should ensure this; it is especially concerned about protecting the rights of children. He described Cities for Children, an initiative by the Council of Europe that offers European cities the possibility to exchange and to develop progressive concepts across national borders on how to promote the well-being of children, young persons, and parents in the urban environment.

After these inspiring speeches, Ambassador for Peace certificates were presented to Ernst Strohmaier and a Family Award to a local Muslim family headed by Hamed Mustafa.

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